In Recurring Pattern, Labor Activist Denied Furlough and Medical Leave
Following a recent pattern of restrictions on political prisoner rights, authorities have forbidden imprisoned labor activist Reza Shahabi from furlough or medical leave. His brother Hassan, Shahabi, told the Campaign that his physical condition is rapidly deteriorating, and he is in need of urgent medical attention.
“His physical condition is very serious, he has intense neck and back pain and the medical examiner who examined him last week issued an urgent order to transfer [Shahabi] to the hospital to be operated on, but he has not been transferred. Last year he was hospitalized for some time. At that time, his doctor said Reza is not physically ready for an operation and prescribed two months of complete bed rest and 60 sessions of physical therapy for him. Unfortunately, the Judge didn’t accept the case with furlough and he only had a few physical therapy sessions in the prison clinic,” said Hassan Shahabi.
On 12 June 2010 authorities arrested labor activist and board member of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran Bus Company Reza Shahabi. He has embarked on hunger strike several times in protest of his ambiguous judicial status and his prolonged “temporary detention.” He is also suffering from neck and back problems, and last year he was transferred to the hospital for treatment several times.
On 29 February 2012, the fifth session of Shahabi’s trial was held with his lawyer in attendance. “I don’t know if this was his last trial session, or if there will be more. But according to what he said, Reza and his lawyer had a very good session and the judge announced in that session that he will be granted furlough in the next few days. But I don’t know why he still hasn’t been released on furlough,” said Hassan Shahabi.
He also told the Campaign that after Reza was promised furlough, the family was anticipating to see him. “We don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, causing the refusal to grant Reza furlough. Several times we went to the Revolutionary Court but they said that the judge didn’t approve the furlough, but the judge himself had announced that he wants to give [Reza] furlough, now how is it that he disagrees with the furlough?! If the judge can’t do this, he should never have said so. After hearing this news [originally] we told our old mother who had a heart condition about Reza’s furlough. And when it wasn’t granted, she had a cardiac arrest and died. That old woman waited for 23 months to see her son again.”
After Reza Shahabi’s mother died on 21 March, “we faxed all of the death documents to the Prosecutor’s office so that they could give Reza furlough to participate in his mother’s funeral, but, unfortunately, this didn’t occur,” said Hassan Shahabi.
Reza Shahabi’s brother, addressing judicial officials, said, “I want them to hear our voices, I’m saying Mr. Shahabi has been held in prison without a crime. His trial sessions are delayed for several months each time with excuses, and every time his “temporary detention” continues. Every time they announce in his trial sessions that they are going to sentence him, but the only thing they’ve done is putting this sentence against our mother and becoming the cause for her death.”